A nanoparticle commonly used in industry could have a damaging effect on plant life, according to a report by an environmental scientist at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).
The report, published in a recent issue of Toxicology Letters, shows that nanoparticles of aluminium oxide slowed the growth of roots in corn, cucumber, cabbage, carrot and soybean.
Aluminium nanoparticles are commonly used in scratch-resistant transparent coatings, sunscreen lotions that provide transparent-UV protection and environmental catalysts that reduce pollution, said Daniel J. Watts, PhD, the lead author of the study.
“Before this study there was an assumption that nanoparticles had no effect on plants,” said Watts, executive director of the
The authors conducted the study by allowing seeds to germinate on wet filter paper in Petri dishes, after which they added known quantities of nanosized aluminium suspended in water. The control portion of the experiment was treated only with water, and the authors observed the experiment for seven days. During that time, they measured the differences in the growth of the plants’ roots, which were shown to be statistically significant.
“We suppose that the surface characteristics of the nanoparticles played an important role in slowing the growth of the roots,” said
But what is still not understood, said
Nanoparticles can be deposited into air by exhaust systems, chimneys or smoke stacks, said
It is difficult to take results from a lab experiment and conclude that is what happens in the real world, said